Monday Mornings with Madison

Executive Functions and Leadership, Part 2B

In his Ted Talk discussing how working memory allows us to make sense of what’s happening right now, educational psychologist Peter Doolittle put it succinctly when he said, “Life comes at us very quickly, and what we need to do is take that amorphous flow of experience and somehow extract meaning from it.”  That is what working memory allows us to do.  Working memory is essential for logic, reasoning, reading, and IQ.  It also plays a crucial role in learning new things, mastering new skills, and generally following directions.  Working memory is also essential for practically any job.  We use working memory to focus our attention, conduct mental math, solve problems, follow directions or instructions, encode and retrieve information into and out of our own long term memory, maintain stamina during complex tasks, and take notes while listening to a presentation or at a meeting. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Executive Functions and Leadership, Part 2A

Word Count: 1,493
Estimated Read Time: 6 Min.

Working Memory and Success

Behavior is the big, broad term for everything we do.  It’s just a fancy word for action.  And, for most adults, action equals work.  Most people aren’t paid to just think.  They are paid to do.  To act.  So the mental processes we use to control our behaviors or actions are key to the work we produce.  And we control our behaviors in large part through eight major cognitive processes collectively known as Executive Functions.

We use Executive Functions to regulate our own behavior in a multitude of ways.  Make snap decisions.  Ruthlessly prioritize tasks to make better use of time.  Work late on a project even when hungry and tired.  Color-code or organize items in a particular way in a work area.  Stay focused on a task for several hours.  Handle a major setback calmly.  Saving money toward retirement.  These are all examples of people exercising their Executive Functions in controlling their actions. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Executive Functions and Leadership, Part 1

Word Count: 1,562
Estimated Read Time: 6 Min.

Impulsivity and Self Control

Executive Functions are a set of eight cognitive processes that are needed for self-regulating our own behaviors.  Executive Functions make it possible to mentally play with ideas; take the time to think before acting; stop an action that isn’t appropriate for a situation; adapting to an unexpected change; meet novel, unanticipated challenges and make quick decisions; resist temptations; and stay focused. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Service: The Only Lasting Differentiator, Part 2

Word Count: 1,708
Estimated Read Time: 7 Min.

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, once said “There is only one boss. The customer ― and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”  That reflected Walton’s understanding that the key is to keep customers happy.  It was that kind of thinking that grew Walmart from a single department store in 1950 in Bentonville, Arkansas to 24 stores in Arkansas by 1967, and 125 stores in dozens of states with over 7,500 sales associates and $340 million in sales by 1975.  Today, of course, Walmart has 11,000 stores in 27 countries.  It started by delivering great service and low prices.  But, ironically, Walmart’s customer service has declined to the point where it now is ranked among companies known for poor service. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Service: The Only Lasting Differentiator, Part 1

Word Count: 1,673
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ Min.

Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  This is true in life and it is true in business.  Connecting with people on an emotional, personal level has always been the best way to win customers, keep customers and convert customers into raving fans.  But business gurus keep looking for a new approach to customer service.

In the 1980s and 90s, the focus was on customer care… showing customers how much they were valued and appreciated.  Think giveaways and concierge service.  By the 2000s, the focus shifted to customer engagement… finding new ways to connect and dialogue with customers in order to give them what they want.   Think blogs, email, live chat, mobile apps, and call-me-now.  And in the last decade, as companies gained a better understanding of the connection between brand identity and customer relationships, businesses sought to achieve customer entanglement… a mix of connection, trust and brand love.  Think corporate responsibility, social impact, social messaging, and a sense of kinship. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Millennials vs Zellennials: What’s the Difference? -Part 2

Word Count: 1,548
Estimated Read Time: 6 Min.

The Zellennial generation includes those born roughly between 2001 and 2016.  The oldest Zs just turned 21 this year and are legally allowed to do everything adults can do in the U.S. including drive, vote, and drink.  They are the first generation born and raised in the 21st century.  And we know most are either in college and/or starting to work.  But, if they are so young, why do we need to study them now, and how much can we really say with certainty about who they are and will become? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Millennials vs Zellennials: What’s the Difference?

Word Count: 1,532
Estimated Read Time: 5 Min.

There are basically five generations alive right now.  In January 2022, the breakdown will be as follows:

Silent Generation – Born 1929-1945 (Great Depression to WWII) – ages 77-91
Boomers – Born 1946-1964 (post WWII to early 60s) – ages 57-76
Gen Xers – Born  1965-1980 (Space flight to Computer age) (Civil Rights to Computers) – ages 40-56
Millennials – Born 1981-2000 (From Computers to Y2K) – ages 22-39
Zellennials – Born 2001-2015 (9-11 to 2015 Paris Climate Agreement) – ages 6-21

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Block Out the “Noise” to be More Effective at Work

Word Count: 1,932
Estimated Read Time: 7 ½ Min.

Information overload is everywhere.  Social media posts.  Radio shows.  Streaming programs.  Emails.  Newspapers and newsletters.  Podcasts.  Magazines.  Billboards.  Blogs and vlogs.  What passes for news is mostly noise, blurring the lines between editorial and advertising.  And every Tom, Dick and Harry has now jumped on the content creation bandwagon to share their own unique voice and stories to the cacophony, even if they have nothing of real value to add.  Interruptions and distractions abound.  While technology has made it easier to get work done, it has also increased the amount of venues, vehicles and virtual people competing for your attention.  Most business professionals are inundated by this “noise”… the dings, pings and pops that signal that someone has something to ask or share.   We are encouraged to “multi-task,” which is actually a fiction that the human brain cannot do.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Time Management and Parkinson’s Law

Word Count: 1,795
Estimated Read Time: 7 Min.

Time is fleeting.  Ask anyone (except perhaps someone in prison) and they are bound to agree that there is just never enough time.  Life is hectic and demands are forever increasing.  The pace of life and the demands on our time have risen exponentially.  While there are many scarce resources – money, water, arable land, metallic minerals, fish, sand, etc. – none is more finite, non-renewable and precious than time.  And, despite the multitude of time management tools proliferating in the marketplace – timers, alarms, calendars, time tracking software, organization tools, prioritization lists, etc. – time is still the hardest resource to manage because it is a perishable. After all, we cannot store or bank time. We cannot buy more of it or steal it from someone else.  And, while we all think we will get the same amount of this resource at the start of each day, there is no guarantee of that.  Every tombstone in a graveyard is a testament to that.  Some will get 24 hours today and some won’t.  And even if we do get 24 hours in a day, we can’t keep it or save it.  At best, we are forced to trade time for other things.  At worst, we fritter it away on nothing… which is the worst offense of all. Continue reading

Leave a comment

The War for Talent

Word Count: 1,807
Estimated Read Time: 7 Min.

Currently, U.S. companies (as well as businesses in other parts of the world) are having trouble finding enough skilled labor to meet demand.  In the U.S., there are several factors contributing to a rising war for talent.  First, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% or 7.4 million people in October 2021. That is down considerably from the high of 14.8% at the end of the February-April 2020 recession.  While it is still about 1% higher than the 3.5% rate prior to the pandemic in February 2020, unemployment is much improved.  It is expected to get down to 3.5% by end of 2022.  People are getting back to work.  And yet there continues to be a shortage of skilled workers. Continue reading

Leave a comment
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux